IMAP2 protocol/implementation status

Mark Crispin (Crispin@SUMEX-AIM.Stanford.EDU)
Mon, 4 Apr 88 15:22:07 PDT


     My message to TCP-IP about the IMAP2 protocol seems to have triggered a
flurry of messages, all asking the same thing. I hope to forestall a
continued blizzard with this message.

     At the present time, the only documentation for IMAP2 consists of some
very preliminary notes which are by now woefully out of date and a BNF. The
BNF is in the RFC822 extended form, but it hasn't been thoroughly checked for
accuracy or completeness yet.

    I am working on an RFC describing IMAP2, and hope to have it out the door
in the next couple of weeks if my schedule will permit.

    There are several IMAP2 implementations at present:
(1) DEC-20 server, written in assembly language. This is a completed program,
and will be modified in the future only to add extensions to the language.
(2) Unix server, written in C. This is still in beta test and has a few
missing capabilities. Should be available soon.
(3) Xerox Lisp client, written in hybrid InterLisp/Common Lisp. This program
should be moving towards a stable, final version shortly.
(4) TI Lisp client, written in Common Lisp. This is a port of the Xerox Lisp
client, and is still under development (mostly in its window handling).
(5) MAC client. Work has just started.

     We intend to make these implementations generally available, and we
encourage new implementations. The DEC-20 server can be found online at
implementations will be offered once policies/procedures/etc are ready.

     The BNF can be found on PS:<CRISPIN.MM-D>IMAP2-SPECIFICATION.TXT on

     If any brave souls would like to start on an implementation from the BNF
(that's pretty much how the Unix server was written!) and/or the DEC-20 code,
I can offer encouragement and question-answering as well as being willing to
set up bake-offs. At present all of the implementations are compatible with
each other and we'd like to keep it that way!

-- Mark --

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